Products Liability, Toxic Tort, and Environmental

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Tydings’ products liability group is known throughout the country for the cases we have handled and the results we’ve achieved.  From our historic defense in Maryland’s first two asbestos cases to go to trial, to our defense of a leading computer maker in lawsuits stemming from allegations of stress-related injuries, we have taken pride in meeting and exceeding the most daunting of challenges.

Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies ask us to serve as local, trial, regional, and national counsel in hundreds of cases every year.  We represent companies with claims of personal injury and property damage, whether single-plaintiff cases or class action suits.  Many of the country’s largest corporations turn to us routinely to handle multi-claim and multiple defendant cases involving products as varied as cell phones, heart valves, and paint.

We often defend companies against the possibility of large punitive damage awards, with a defense strategy honed through years of presenting and cross-examining experts in the fields of medicine, science, economics, and technology.  The breadth and depth of our product-liability experience have made us fluent in the language of medical, scientific, and statistical data and efficient in our preparation.  We regularly defend clients against claims of multiple chemical sensitivity, toxic shock syndrome, repetitive stress injury, and other allegations.  Our track record of successful defense stretches across Maryland, the mid-Atlantic, and other parts of the country.

Our products liability group has defended companies of all sizes against claims involving:

  • Asbestos-containing products;
  • Automobiles and auto parts;
  • Building and construction products, including floor tiles;
  • Chemicals, including paint removers, benzene, vinyl chloride, lead paint, and pesticides;
  • Dental products;
  • EIFS;
  • Electric and magnetic fields;
  • Electronic products, including cell phones, computers and personal consumer electronics;
  • Elevators and escalators;
  • Heart valves, breast implants, and other implanted medical products;
  • Industrial machinery;
  • Medical devices;
  • Mold;
  • Office equipment;
  • Pharmaceuticals;
  • Prescription filling errors;
  • Prostheses;
  • Recreational products;
  • Exercise equipment; and
  • Toys and other children’s products.

Personal Injury Asbestos Litigation

Tydings has been defending companies in asbestos-related cases for nearly 30 years.  In 1982, we became counsel to a national manufacturer of asbestos cloth and automotive friction linings.  We represented the company in two landmark cases in Maryland, both of which we won at trial with verdicts that were upheld on appeal.  Since that time, we have represented asbestos defendants in more than 150 trials in state and federal courts in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York.  Our client base has included several thermal insulation manufacturers, makers of other asbestos-containing products, equipment manufacturers, and local distributors.

At trial and on appeal, we have set precedents that serve today as the framework of asbestos rulings in courthouses nationwide.  In the early 1990s, we defended Pittsburgh Corning in a mass consolidation of more than 8,500 cases.  In the end, the plaintiffs were awarded no punitive damages against our client.  Since that case, no punitive damage award has been upheld in Maryland in an asbestos-related trial.

Our reputation for a tenacious defense is second only to our reputation for ingenuity.  Our attorneys were among the first in the country to use scientific and medical-based defenses such as the ‘chrysotile defense’ and the ‘industrial-hygiene defense,’ both of which are used to defend clients that produce low-dose products.  Our strategic defense has included retaining architects to investigate structures and products, hiring researchers to uncover and probe missing documents and records, and contracting investigators to locate key witnesses.  In one case, our investigation revealed witnesses willing to testify that the plaintiff had not lived with his family for many years, and instead had lived with another woman until his death.  This information became key to effectuating an advantageous settlement with the plaintiff’s estate.

We have taken a lead role in shaping the law through both appellate work and legislative advocacy.  Our attorneys have drafted position papers and testified at legislative hearings on bills relating to Maryland’s non-economic damages cap and punitive damages.  We have authored both appellate and amicus briefs on Maryland’s non-economic damages cap and won one of the only two reported cases in the state to apply the non-economic damages cap to an asbestos-related personal injury claim.  We have won at trial court and on appeal multiple asbestos cases on statute of limitations’ grounds.

Leadership

Tydings' litigators are active leaders in the legal profession.  Three of our partners are former presidents of the Maryland Defense Counsel, the Maryland affiliate of the Defense Research Institute.  Our attorneys have served prominent roles in the Litigation Section and other sections of the American Bar Association, as well as the Federal Bar Association and other legal trade associations in Maryland and nationwide.  Our attorneys are also vocal leaders within the court system.  We have served on committees for the establishment of the electronic filing system in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and its use in certain aspects of the appeals process.  We have been active in the clustering of cases and revisions to the re-trial schedule, and we have taken the lead role in maintaining Maryland’s inactive docket against numerous attempts by the plaintiff’s bar in Maryland to have it rescinded or modified.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully represented Fortune 500 companies and trade associations in products liabilities lawsuits in Maryland related to the alleged manufacture and sale of lead pigment used in lead paint;
  • Successfully represented a carbonless copy paper manufacturer in four long-running cases brought by plaintiffs alleging that exposure to carbonless copy paper caused them to develop multiple chemical sensitivity; we prevented the plaintiffs from successfully certifying a class action, and we obtained summary judgment in three of the four cases, with plaintiffs dropping the fourth;
  • Successfully represented an EIFS manufacturers in products liability suits in Maryland that alleged both property damage and personal injury due to mold; our use of multiple defenses, including the economic loss rule and statutes of repose and limitations, resulted in all plaintiffs’ claims being rejected by the court and the verdicts upheld on appeal;
  • Successfully represented a Fortune 100 computer manufacturer in defense of 189 products liability personal injury cases in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia in which plaintiffs alleged ‘repetitive stress injuries’ resulting from their use of computer equipment or supermarket scanners; all of the cases we handled were either dismissed on motion or voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs without compensation; and
  • Successfully represented several manufacturing companies against numerous claims that asbestos used in certain of their products caused plaintiffs’ mesothelioma; our presentation of previously undiscovered abatement records proved that no asbestos was used in certain areas of construction, which resulted in the dismissal of several high-profile cases and greatly reduced settlements in others.

Representative Clients

We have represented or currently represent the following clients:

  • American Building Maintenance Industries, Inc.
  • Atlantic Richfield Company
  • CVS of Maryland, Inc.
  • Dryvit Systems, Inc.
  • IBM Corporation
  • Mead Corp.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA, Inc.
  • Minster Machine Company
  • STO Corp.
  • W. R. Grace & Company
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